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ratified in a personal interview of the three bro-
thers. Constantine, the eldest of the Caesars, ob-
tained with a certain pre-eminence of rank, the
possession of the new capital, which bore his own
name and that of his father. Thrace and the
countries of the east, were allotted for the patri-
mony of Constantius; and Constans was acknow-
ledged as the lawful sovereign of Italy, Africa,
and the western Illyricum. The armies submitted
to their hereditary right; and they condescended,
after some delay, to accept from the Roman se-
nate, the title of Augustus. When they first as-
fumed the reins of government, the eldest of these
princes was twenty-one, the second twenty, and
the third only seventeen, years of age *.
While the martial nations of Europe followed
the standards of his brothers, Constantius, at the
head of the effeminate troops of Afia, was left to
sustain the weight of the Persian war. At the
decease of Constantine, the throne of the east was
filled by Sapor, son of Hormouz, or Hormisdas,
and grandson of Narses, who, after the vićtory
of Galerius, had humbly confessed the superiority
of the Roman power. Although Sapor was in the
thirtieth year of his long reign, he was still in the
vigour of youth, as the date of his accession, by a
very strange fatality, had preceded that of his
birth. The wife of Hormouz remained pregnant
at the time of her husband’s death; and the un-

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certainty of the sex, as well as of the event, excited the ambitious hopes of the princes of the house of Sassan. The apprehensions of civil war were at length removed, by the positive assurance of the Magi, that the widow of Hormouz had conceived, and would safely produce a son. Obedient to the voice of superstition, the Perfians prepared, without delay, the ceremony of his coronation. A royal bed, on which the queen lay in state, was exhibited in the midst of the palace; the diadem was placed on the spot, which might be supposed to conceal the future heir of Artaxerxes, and the prostrate Satraps adored the majesty of their invisible and insensible sovereign “. If any credit can be given to this marvellous tale which seems however to be countenanced by the manners of the people, and by the extraordinary duration of his reign, we must admire not only the fortune, but the genius, of Sapor. In the soft sequestered education of a Persian haram, the royal youth could discover the importance of exercising the vigour of his mind and body; and, by his personal merit, deserved a throne, on which he had been feated, while he was yet unconscious of the duties and temptations of absolute power. His minority was exposed to the almost inevitable calamities of domestic discord; his capital was

54 Agathias, who lived in the fixth century, is the author of this story (I. iv. p. 135, edit. Louvre). He derived his information from some extraśts of the Persian Chronicles, obtained and translated by the interpreter Sergius, during his embassy at that court. The coronation of the mother of Sapor is likewise mentioned by Schikard (Tarikh. p. 116.) and d'Herbelot (Bibliothèque Orientale, p. 763.).

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king of Yemen, or Arabia; and the majesty of the royal family was degraded by the captivity of a princess, the sister of the deceased king. But as soon as Sapor attained the age of manhood,

the presumptuous Thair, his nation, and his coun

try, fell beneath the first effort of the young warrior; who used his vićtory with so judicious a mixture of rigour and clemency, that he obtained from the fears and gratitude of the Arabs, the title of Dhoulacnas, or prote&tor of the nation *. The ambition of the Persian, to whom his enemies ascribe the virtue of a soldier and a statesman, was animated by the desire of revenging the disgrace of his fathers, and of wresting from the hands of the Romans the five provinces beyond the Tigris. The military fame of Constantine, and the real or apparent strength of his government, suspended the attack; and while the hostile condućt of Sapor provoked the resentment, his artful negociations amused the patience of the Imperial court. The death of Constantine was the fignal of war *, and the actual condition of the Syrian and Armenian frontier, seemed to en

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55 D'Herbelot, Bibliotheque Orientale, p. 764.

* Sextus Rufus (c. 26.), who on this occasion is no contempt. ible authority, affirms, that the Persians sued in vain for peace, and that Constantime was preparing to march against them : yet the superior weight of the testimony of Eusebius, obliges us to admit the preliminaries, if not the ratification, of the treaty. See Tillemont, Hist, des Empercurs, tom. iv. p. 420, -

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the prudence of Constantius, who, from the interview with his brothers in Pannonia, immediately hastened to the banks of the Euphrates, the legions were gradually restored to a sense of duty and discipline; but the season of anarchy had permitted Sapor to form the fiege of Nisibis, and to occupy several of the most important fortresses of Mesopotamia 37. In Armenia, the renowned Tiridates had long enjoyed the peace and glory which he deserved by his valour and fidelity to the cause of Rome. The firm alliance which he maintained with Constantine, was produćtive of spiritual as well as of temporal benefits; by the conversion of Tiridates, the charaćter of a saint was applied to that of a hero, the Christian faith was preached and established from the Euphrates to the shores of the Caspian, and Armenia was attached to the empire by the double ties of policy and of religion. But as many of the Armenian nobles still refused to abandon the plurality of their gods and of their wives, the public tranquillity was disturbed by a discontented fačtion, which insulted the feeble age of their fovereign, and impatiently expected the hour of his death. He died at length after a reign of fifty-six years, and the fortune of the Armenian monarchy expired with Tiridates. His lawful heir was driven into exile, the Christian priests

57 Julian. Orat. i. p. 20. Were

A.D. 342.

e H & P. were either murdered or expelled from their *:II. churches, the barbarous tribes of Albania were TT solicited to descend from their mountains; and two of the most powerful governors, usurping the enfigns or the powers of royalty, implored the assistance of Sapor, and opened the gates of their cities to the Persian garrisons. The Christian party, under the guidance of the archbishop of Artaxata, the immediate successor of St. Gregory the Illuminator, had recourse to the piety of Con#antius. After the troubles had continued about three years, Antiochus, one of the officers of the household, executed with success the Imperial cemmission of restoring Chosroes, the son of Tiridates, to the throne of his fathers, of distributing honors and rewards among the faithful ferwants of the house of Arsaces, and of proclaiming a general amnesty, which was accepted by the greater part of the rebellious Satraps. But the Romans derived more honour than advantage from this revolution. Chosroes was a prince of a puny stature, and a pusillanimous spirit. Unequal to the fatigues of war, averse to the society of mankind, he withdrew from his capital to a refired palace, which he built on the banks of the river £ieutherus, and in the centre of a shady grove; where he consumed his vacant hours in the rural sports of hunting and hawking. To secure this inglorious ease, he submitted to the conditions of peace which Sapor condescended to impose; the payment of an annual tribute, and the restitution of the fertile province of Atropatene, which the - courage

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